Zapote man held in thefts from 200 pay phones

Judicial police arrested a man Thursday morning who they suspect stole from more than 200 different pay phones in the San José area costing service providers 38 million colons.

That translates to about $76,000 of losses that police suspect were caused by this man by dismantling parts of these pay phones and taking coins from the change box.

A judicial spokesperson clarified that only a fraction of this amount is what the man actually stole, because it includes costs to send someone to repair the phones and other costs.

That spokesperson also confirmed that the detained man is Jorge Vargas Noguera, 34.

According to a judicial bulletin, the suspect is accused of standing at a pay phone while pretending to make a call while he really unscrewed the door to the change box and took money out of it.

Police began this investigation in August and have connected Vargas to at least 30 complaints involving over 200 different phones, the bulletin said.

Officials said that police arrested the man in Zapote Thursday morning at his home where they also found 3 million colons (about $6,000), cell phones and tools that may have been used to open the pay phones.

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